This page is dedicated to providing the most current and up-to-date information regarding high water conditions. New information will appear at the top of the page.
To be added to the River Watch newsletter email list or if you have questions regarding this information, please contact Hans Werner-Mackeler, Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIVER WATCH 2020 # 2
The arrival of spring has also brought changes to the situation on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
The International Joint Commission (IJC) has been attempting to lower water levels by delaying the start of shipping until April 1 and by increasing the outflow at the Moses Saunders Dam beyond the discharge levels specified in Plan 2014.
With spring’s arrival, temperatures are warming, snow is melting and our precipitation is arriving in the form of rain. Today’s forecast calls for additional rain and strong winds that may cause wave action, particularly in this area. As a result, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILO-SLRB) advis es that Lake Ontario’s level rose by 3 cm (1.2 in) this past week. The lake level is 52 cm (20.5 in) above average for this time of year. It is anticipated that the forecast wet conditions will cause the lake levels to rise further during the coming week.
While the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River watersheds are contributing to rising water levels, the primary inflows are coming from the other Great Lakes via the Niagara River. Inflows from the Niagara River for the week ending yesterday totaled 10,440 cubic meters/second. The historical average inflows for the same period totaled 8,800 cubic meters/second. During this same current period outflows totaled 9,450 cubic meters/second. Outflows were higher earlier but had to be reduced due to increased flows on the Ottawa River and to maintain Lake St. Louis below flood levels. The ILO-SLRB has indicated that they will maintain outflow as high as possible and will continue to adjust flows as necessary, according to conditions on the St. Lawrence River.
Yesterday, South Nation Conservation released a Watershed Conditions/Flood Outlook Statement specific to the St. Lawrence River.
In the statement, residents are advised to exercise caution when near the river as the forecasted weather may rapidly increase river flows and cause slippery banks. Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve on it
- Portable backup generator and pump
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 m from the dwelling
- Removing or securing items that might float away as flows increase
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy
- Familiarize yourself with your municipality’s emergency preparedness plan (see Augusta Township’s Emergency Management Plan)
Augusta Township’s Municipal Emergency Control Group (MECG) has met to update members on current and forecast high-water conditions. The MECG are formulating a 2020 action plan with respect to potential high-water levels on the St. Lawrence River. Once completed, residents will be advised of the municipality’s planned course of action.
If anyone has any comments with respect to this information release, please send an email to email@example.com. Future releases will be developed as conditions change or more information becomes available.
Prepared: March 20, 2020
From: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 10:37 AM
Subject: Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook & Updated Flood Watch
Warm Temperatures and Rain in Forecast Will Cause Water Levels to Increase Across the Rideau Valley Watershed
The short-term forecast is calling for rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 mm and high temperatures near 15 degrees Celsius on Friday, followed by below zero temperatures on Saturday, and then milder temperatures in the days following. No significant rain is in the short-term forecast after Friday. With Friday’s rain and high temperatures, water levels and flows across the Rideau Valley Watershed are expected to increase everywhere and then decline again slowly with the cooler weather in the following days. Some specific areas of concern are highlighted below:
A FLOOD OUTLOOK is being issued for the following areas:
• Properties around Bob’s Lake, Christie Lake and Tay River in the upper Rideau Valley Watershed. In these areas, local residents should expect spring like water levels and flows. Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake, and operations at the Bolingbroke Dam will take place as required, to balance the levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.
• Properties around Wolfe Lake in the upper Rideau Valley Watershed.
• Properties around the smaller creeks and streams in the lower Rideau Valley Watershed, including the low-lying roads and waterfront properties adjacent to the Jock River (near Richmond)
• and any connected creeks or ditches.
A FLOOD WATCH continues for the low-lying areas along Stevens Creek and Taylor Drain in the Village of North Gower; however, water levels are expected to be somewhat similar or possibly less than those that have already been seen this spring.
Extreme caution should be exercised by everyone when near local waterbodies. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should continue to take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
• Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve
• Ensuring easy access to a portable backup generator and pump
• Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 metres from the dwelling
• Securing items that might float away as flows increase
• Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
• Keeping emergency phone numbers handy
• Familiarizing yourself with your municipality’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
This watershed conditions statement is in effect until April 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. and will be updated at that time unless the forecast or conditions change.
RVCA Watershed Conditions Statements:
- Water Safety – High flows, unstable banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
- Flood Outlook – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts, calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams and/or lakeshore flooding or erosion.
- Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individuals in flood prone areas should prepare.
• Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.
Posted March 19, 2020
From: South Nation Conservation Authority
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Subject: SNC MEDIA RELEASE: Watershed Conditions – Flood Outlook Statement UPDATE
Posted March 17, 2020
From: South Nation Conservation Authority
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2020 2:56 PM
Subject: SNC MEDIA RELEASE: Watershed Conditions – Flood Outlook Statement
Attached is the latest media message from South Nation Conservation.
WATERSHED CONDITIONS: Flood Outlook Statement
March 9, 2020
Environment Canada is forecasting a general freeze-thaw cycle for the next 7 days as well as the potential for 10 to 20 mm of rain starting this evening and lasting through to tomorrow, March 10th. An additional 10 to 20 mm of rain is also possible at the end of this week, starting Thursday, March 12th.
Recent precipitation and warm temperatures have melted some of the snow pack, causing water levels to rise above normal in most parts of the watershed for this time of year.
Based on current forecasts, continued melt is expected with increased runoff from rain.
Ice cover in rivers and streams may breakup as a result of warm temperatures and higher flows, increasing the risk of ice jams and associated overbank flooding.
Higher than normal water levels may cause nuisance flooding in low-lying areas.
Residents are advised to stay away from rivers as the forecasted weather may rapidly increase river flows and banks might be unstable and slippery. Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should also take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve on it.
- Portable generator and backup pump.
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 m from the dwelling.
- Removing or securing items that might float away as flows increase.
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding.
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
- Familiarize yourself with your municipality’s emergency preparedness plan.
This statement is in effect until Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.
SNC monitors water levels and weather forecasts as part of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program. Updates are provided as conditions change.
Please visit www.nation.on.ca for more information. To provide feedback with respect to changes in water related conditions please email firstname.lastname@example.org, post on our Facebook (/SouthNationConservation) or Twitter (@SouthNationCA).
Posted March 16, 2020
From: Great Lakes and Water Policy Section (MNRF)
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2020 1:21 PM
Subject: Release of ‘Protecting People and Property: Ontario’s Flooding Strategy’
Ontario is taking action to protect people and property by strengthening the province’s preparedness for flooding because the safety of the public and the protection of our communities is our number one priority.
In response to Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding report released last November, and the call from the communities around the province to address the issue of flooding, Ontario has released Protecting People and Property: Ontario’s Flooding Strategy, available here. The Strategy introduces a series of new and enhanced actions that will help Ontario better prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant flood events.
You can also visit our updated webpage, ontario.ca/floods to find emergency preparedness information, including safety and flood mitigation tips for homeowners.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to build a more resilient Ontario.
Water Resources Section
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Posted March 16, 2020
RIVER WATCH 2020 # 1
While most of you are probably better aware of what is happening on the river than I am, I came across two news items that I felt warranted the early production of a River Watch article.
The first is the fact that, with the end of the shipping season on December 31, 2019, the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence Board has been granted approval by the IJC to deviate from Plan 2014 by increasing outflows from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to 10,700 cubic metres per second. This outflow is 300 cubic metres per second higher than what was maintained in the summer and early fall of 2019.
The high flows will continue for as long as possible and until ice formation resumes on the St. Lawrence River. During ice formation, flows are normally reduced until there is a solid ice sheet. Once that occurs, flows can be increased but not to the degree as it would be with an open water situation.
Secondly, the IJC’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee seeks to document and better understand the impacts associated with the 2019 high-water levels. This is part of the committee’s long-term efforts to support the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board and International Lake Superior Board of Control in evaluating existing strategies for managing outflows from Lake Ontario and Lake Superior.
Information provided by shoreline properties owners is critical for ensuring that scientific and engineering tools used to evaluate regulation plans under a range of wet and dry conditions accurately reflect the high-water impacts that have been experienced.
The GLAM Committee has developed an online questionnaire for shoreline property owners. The questionnaire builds on the Committee’s 2017 efforts for the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shoreline, where more than 1,300 people responded.
Results from the 2017 survey:
I have been in touch with a GLAM member who indicated that the questionnaire will remain active until the end of January 2020. Take a look at the questionnaire and decide for yourself if you would like to take the time to provide the Committee with your information. Talk to your neighbours who might have experienced some effects from last year’s high-water to determine if they are interested in completing the questionnaire.
If you do not want to complete the questionnaire, I would still recommend going to the website indicated. The site contains a GLAM Committee report and fact sheet relative to the 2017 survey.
The online questionnaire can be found at: https://ijc.org/en/glam/watershed/questionnaire/high-water-levels-2019
If anyone has any questions, please send a message to this email address.
Prepared: January 14, 2020